Coming to Trinity

Trinity's interest in purchasing what was known as the "Moss Collection" began in 1953 through correspondence between Theresa Simms, Trinity's librarian at the time, and C.A. Smith, the owner of the collection. Both expressed their desire for Trinity to house the collection, but the school did not have adequate library funds at the time. Mrs. Simms reached out to Tom Slick, a Trinity trustee, to see if he'd be interested in buying the books. He wrote back stating he could not fund the project.

C.W. Miller, another Trinity trustee, expressed interest in purchasing the collection to Mrs. Simms and James Laurie, Trinity's president around July 1953. Mrs. Simms recommended a minimum starting offer of $5,000, as that was how much the most expensive book was appraised for. She acknowledged that this offer was far below market value, but hoped the collection would make its way to Trinity and become the institution's first collection of rare books. Around the end of August, Mr. Miller wrote a letter to Dr. Laurie that he was going to purchase the "Moss Collection" for Trinity.

The books were purchased in two phases and included papers with information and appraisal values for each book written during meetings between Mr. Smith and Mr. Miller. On December 21st, 1953 the first seven books arrived at Trinity, totaling $8,310. The second phase was purchased on January 3rd, 1954, and included ten more books valued at $4,235. Additionally, Mr. Miller purchased a glass museum case so the library could safely display the collection.

The "C.W. Miller Collection" was kept in George Storch Memorial Library until the "graduate library" was opened in Chapman Graduate Center in 1964. It then moved to the Special Collections and Archives area inside Elizabeth Huth Coates Library in 1983. You can now find them there in Room 208!